Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa, is home to over 80 distinct ethnic groups, and is known for its world-class coffee. Ethiopia has a unique history as one of only two African countries that was never colonized by Europe.
The country has enjoyed periods of peace and its capital city Addis Ababa has become an important economic centre in Africa. But it has also suffered through war and civil war, causing poverty rates to rise, farmers to flee, and the movement of food, goods and aid to halt.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 68.7% of the population in Ethiopia is estimated to be “multidimensionally poor,” which means they have poor health, a lack of education, inadequate living standards, poor work conditions, and face the threat of violence.
Where CFTC works in Ethiopia
CFTC’s focus is on the drought-prone and high needs area of the Amhara Region in central northern Ethiopia, along with the Bora Woreda and Wenchi District in the Southwest Shewa Zone, Oromia Region, and in Daramalo Woredo of the southern regions.
In September 2023, over 40,000 people in southern Ethiopian regions were displaced due to rains and floods and many farmers lost livestock and farms. At the same time, drought-like-conditions were persisting in the Amhara Region, resulting in alarming malnutrition rates.
Over 80 percent of Ethiopians rely on subsistence agriculture – that is, small farms to feed families – and malnutrition is the cause of 53 percent of all infant deaths in the country. In the communities where CFTC works, farmers are very vulnerable to the impact of climate change on their crops as this area has faced repeated catastrophic floods and droughts.
Farmers face drought, floods, heavy rains, strong winds, frost, and heat waves. Fluctuating rainfall patterns and an increase in agricultural pests due to climate change have been some of the most detrimental factors. When communities flood, farmers lose not only their crops and livelihoods, but many also lose their homes. In these communities, rural residents have particularly low income, earning less than one dollar per day from crop and livestock production.
Ethiopia currently ranks 133rd out of 146 countries in educational attainment by girls on the 2022 Global Gender Gap Index
Gender inequality continues to be a big challenge in these communities in Ethiopia and is a large contributor to overall poverty rates. Ethiopia currently ranks 133rd out of 146 countries in educational attainment by girls on the 2022 Global Gender Gap Index. Nearly 40 percent of all girls are forced into early marriage before their 18th birthday, missing out on important educational milestones and increasing their risk of sexually transmitted infections, mother and child mortality, and domestic violence.
Without alternatives, women and girls as young as 12 or 13 are being trafficked into unsafe domestic labour schemes in the Gulf states, where they face high rates of violence, abuse and even death. It is estimated that 200,000 women leave Ethiopia each year, many of which hail from the Amhara Region. Empowering women is central to alleviating poverty and hunger in the country.
CFTC’s three partners, The Emmanuel Development Association (EDA), the Organization for Child Development and Transformation (CHADET) and the Wontta Rural Development Association (WRDA), each have a long history partnering with communities to overcome these challenges.
Together with your support, farmers are receiving training to adapt to climate change and to start home gardens to grow more food to feed themselves. Hundreds of women have received business skills training and now participate in savings groups to help invest in each other. And children are receiving quality education with the supplies and trained teachers they need to succeed.